Mommy Blues & Postpartum Depression
You may have heard about postpartum blues or postpartum depression. Some women experience this and some don’t. You may feel elated after birth and the days that follow, especially if you had a good birth experience. But you may also find yourself sore, tired, in pain, or somewhat overwhelmed. And sometimes, women alternate between elation and depression. Every woman is different. There is no one correct way to feel after you have had a baby. You may notice that your emotions are subject to rapid ups and downs. Little things that normally would not bother you may leave you in tears. It is very common for women to have a sense of letdown around the third day postpartum. This is probably fueled by the rapid hormonal changes occurring in your body. Also, fatigue and any physical discomfort may play a role, and the realities of having a newborn may also be starting to catch up with you.
Take a long nap. Take a warm bath. If possible, scent the water with a few drops of clary sage, jasmine oil, or ylang-ylang. These are aromatherapy measures that can calm you and lift your spirits.Talk to your husband or a friend.Remind yourself that these feelings are temporary, and don’t reflect on your love for your baby or abilities as a mother.
When it’s more than the blues…
You will receive parenting advice from families, friends, acquaintances, and strangers. Who should you listen to? Parents must decide for themselves what works best for them. Listen politely to advice and thank the giver for the suggestions. Keep in mind that what worked for one family may or may not be right for your family. It’s up to you to decide.
The most common questions asked of new parents are, “Is she a good baby?” and “Does he sleep through the night?” Of course your baby is good! She’s the world’s greatest baby! Does he sleep through the night? Most likely he does not. He is just a tiny person, new to the world. His little stomach needs frequent filling and his diaper needs changing. Many adults get up in the night to get a drink of water, go to the bathroom, or just adjust their covers. It’s certainly not unusual to have a baby who wakes during the night.
All babies are special. Yours will be the most special of all. She will look at you with complete trust and confidence that you will take care of her. As parents, we must do our best to rise to the joys and challenges of caring for our children.
Self-Help: Postpartum Depression:
More than just a transient case of the blues, postpartum depression can be a very serious problem for some women. It may not show up for several weeks after birth. It is actually fairly common, occurring in some degree in 10 to 20% of mothers. One of the most important things to understand about postpartum depression is know that it has nothing to do with your love for your baby or your desire to be a mother. Because many mothers believe that postpartum depression reflects badly on them as mothers and people, many women do not admit their distress and fail to get help.
- Because being tired fuels depression, take naps when possible, and get as much rest as you can.
- People who are depressed often withdraw from others, but it is important to get together with other mothers, talk with friends or others on the phone, connect with a friend or family member daily.
- Take a few minutes each day to do something nice for yourself.
- Reduce your intake of caffeine, sugar, and salt.
- Eat high protein snacks. Continue taking your prenatal vitamins.
- Get some mild exercise each day. Go outside and get fresh air when you can. If the weather doesn’t permit, do stretching exercises on the floor
- Enlist the help of your partner, friend, or family members to assist with childcare so that you can have some time to yourself.
- Listen to soothing music, do deep breathing, or find other ways to relax and replenish yourself.
- See your midwife or other health care provider. There may be physical problems contributing to your depression, and your practitioner can help you find support groups or refer you for counseling or other help if needed.